American League Ground Rules

A batter about to hit a pitch during a baseball game.

Video surveillance on BLL fields is for entertainment only!  Never should or will video recordings or live feeds be used for game time management, pitch counts or score verification or validation.  The BLL Board does have the right to utilize recordings in investigating disciplinary actions of participating players and adults.



1.Field Preparation, Pre-Game Warm-up, Field Shut Down

  • 65 minutes before the game, the home team and visiting team split the cages at Jessamine and Tiras (for Bayland, the visiting team uses the cages 65 minutes before the game and the home team uses the cage 35 minutes before the game)
  • 65 minutes before the game the home team warms up on the field if it is available.
  • 35 minutes before the game, the visiting team uses the field if it is available.
  • The teams are free to work out their own pre-game sharing arrangement such as splitting a cage and the field at the same time.
  • Both teams should avoid touching any chalk on the field prior to the game.
  • 5 minutes before game -- pregame conference with umpire.
  • Before the game, the home team is responsible for getting the field ready for play.
  • When there are successive games, the teams should allocate 5 minutes for the umpire pregame conference and then evenly divide the remaining time before the game starts for infield warm-ups for both teams, with the home team using the field first.
  • There should be no soft toss or balls hit off a tee into the fence, please use the nets provided in the cages to hit into.
  • When there are time restraints, the umpire may prohibit infield warm-ups for both teams.
  • Managers shall exchange batting orders prior to the pre-game conference with the umpire. The batting order shall list the players’ jersey number and first and last names.
  • After the game, the visiting team is responsible for locking up all equipment, watering the field if necessary, and covering in the mound and home plate with tarps.


2. Number of Coaches, Assignment of Dugouts

  • During game time there will only be three (3) coaches allowed in the dugout area, one (1) manager and two (2) coaches.
  • The home team will occupy the 3rd base side and visitors will occupy the 1st base side dugout.
  • Coaches should be behind the dugout fence or in the coach's box.


3. Time Limit and Run Limit for Games

  • For Fall Ball no new innings will start after 1 hour and 30 minutes.  For Spring, no new innings will start from the last recorded 3rd out after 1 hour and 40 minutes from the start of the game provided however that the game is official per rule 4.10 which requires at least 4 innings be played or 3.5 innings if the home team is ahead. A game will not end immediately after the 3rd inning regardless of the 1 hour and 40 minute time limit and must go 3.5 innings if the home team is ahead or 4 innings if the home team is behind.  A game may not go more than 6 innings unless the game is tied AND the 1 hour and 40 minutes has not elapsed. If after the final out in the 6th inning, 1 hour and 40 minutes has not elapsed the game may continue to a 7th inning if tied at the end of the 6th.
  • No new innings will start from the last recorded 3rd out of the inning after 1 hour and 40 minutes from the start of the game.
  • If the game is not completed as of field / park curfew (Fall only – 10:00pm), and if both managers agree, the unfinished game would be allowed to end in a tie (unless the home team is ahead at that time, in which if the case the home team wins).  If both managers do not agree to a tie, the remainder and finish of the game will be scheduled with BLL Scheduler and in compliance with the League touch policy to complete.
  • Fall Ball only: run limits are 3-3-5-5-5-5.   3 run limit innings 1 and 2.  5 run limit every inning after  and the 10-run “mercy rule” after the 4th inning.  In all innings, if last batter hits an over the fence home run then all runs will be counted.
  • There may be extra innings.  Tie games are allowed.  There may be extra innings after the 6th inning as described above.


4. No Fake Bunts 

  • Continuous batting order will be used.
  • All batters and base runners must wear protective helmets with full face masks or helmets with a properly installed C-flap covering the side of the face exposed to the pitcher.
  • Batters are not allowed to show bunt then swing away. If a batter "shows" bunt, their options are: (a) bunt, (b) offer or not offer at the bunt attempt, or (c) pull the bat back taking the pitch. Penalty: the ball becomes dead at the moment of the infraction and the batter shall be warned if the ball was missed or the batter is out if the ball was hit. No runner may advance.
  • If a batter throws or wildly slings his bat after hitting (or attempting to hit) the ball to the extent that his coach and/or umpire believes other players are endangered, time-out will be called and the coach will discuss the infraction with the batter. If it happens again, in the same game, the batter may be called out, prohibited from batting further in the game, or ejected (umpire’s discretion).
  • The batter should not throw the bat toward the dugout after the batter completes the at bat (i.e. after the batter is walked).


5. Official Scorebook, Scoreboard and Official Pitch Count

  • The home team is responsible for keeping the official scorebook and official pitch count and reporting the results to the League Rep. (scores, names of pitchers, pitches thrown by each pitcher, home runs, and no hitters pitched) within 24 hours of the completion of the game.
  • The official scorekeeper for the home team shall keep the official pitch count. In addition, the visiting team and the home team each shall have an additional person from each team keep the pitch count. After each half inning, the umpire shall reconcile each pitch count and make the official determination, which shall be recorded by the home team scorekeeper as the official pitch count.
  • The visiting team shall be responsible for operating the score board.


6. Pitching

  • Majors - No pitcher can exceed 35% of team’s season total pitches.  If pitcher exceeds 35%, player will rest until player percentages falls below 35%.
  • Majors – no one pitcher may exceed 65 pitches in a single game before HISD Spring Break. If the pitcher starts a batter under 65 they can finish the batter.
  • Pitch count totals will start at the beginning of the season and will include all exhibition games.
  • Season percentages will be calculated at the end of each game (% eligible pitcher(s) will be able to start and complete game, but will not be able to start new game unless under 35%
  • For Fall Ball no pitchers should pitch more than 2 consecutive innings or more than 35 pitches in a game unless it's a playoff game, then spring rules apply.


7. Runners -- Courtesy Runner for Catcher (Fall Ball Only)

  • Fall Ball only: If the catcher for the next half inning is on base and there are (a) two (2) outs or (b) four (4) runs in the first three (3) innings, the catcher must be replaced with a courtesy runner (the player that made the last out).


8. Mandatory Play Rules

  • Each player must start and finish each defensive inning played (subject to injuries or disciplinary action).
  •  No player may sit two (2) consecutive defensive innings. No Player may sit more than two (2+) defensive innings until all players on the game roster have sat one (1) defensive inning.
  • Fall Ball only: By the end of the 4th inning, each player shall have played at least one (1) inning of infield.
  • Only the Executive Committee of the League will consider written requests from parents that their child not be required to play an infield position each game.
  • For Fall Ball, teams can play with less than 9 players and there is no player pool.  For Spring, In the event a team has fewer than 9 players, the team may request a pool player.  Pool players will be picked from season pool based on a random draw.  If player from opposing team is picked, another player will be chosen.  Once pool players have participated, they will not be available until all pool players have been contacted.  There is no player pool in the Fall.
  • If a team has less than 9 players because of player pool limitations, the team with less than 9 players will be required to take an automatic out in the 9th batting spot.  When in the field, borrowed players will be the teams last batter of prior inning and must play in an outfield position.
  • If these regulations are not complied with for any reason, managers will be subject to review and possible disciplinary action by the League, which may include suspension from League play.


9. Intentional Delay or Otherwise Making a Travesty of the Game

  • Causing players to intentionally perform poorly (including intentionally striking out, intentionally being put out, intentionally failing to record an out, or intentionally making wild pitches or throws) for the purpose of extending or shortening a game, or otherwise engaging in any action whose purpose is to manipulate the time or duration of the game (including repeated and unwarranted timeouts or replacement of players (including catchers), shall be considered making a travesty of the game.
  • Willfully and knowingly disregarding the requirements of these Ground Rules and other applicable rules also shall be considered making a travesty of the game. In addition to ejection, additional penalties (up to and including forfeiture of a game and/or disqualification of the team, managers or coaches from further league or tournament participation) may be imposed if, in the opinion of the Disciplinary Committee of the Board of Directors of BLL, such additional penalties are warranted in light of the offending conduct.


10. Season Champions

  • Regular season champions will be determined by Win-Loss-Tie percentage records
  • Regular season co-champions are possible if more than one team has equal Win-Loss-Tie percentage records
  • Standings are not kept for fall ball but there may be an end of season tournament.


Major League Post-Season Tournament Rules

To the extent there is a post-season tournament scheduled, the following additional rules shall apply unless otherwise amended by the League Representative or the Vice President of Operations of the Board of Directors of the League, who shall be the Tournament Official.

  • Except as reflected below, all games shall be played based on the Major League ground rules and applicable Little League Rules (regular season), with no exceptions or changes.
  • The first game of the day will start when the schedule indicates; subsequent games will     start 20 minutes after the conclusion of the preceding game or at the time the schedule indicates, whichever is earlier.
  • Seeding will be based on regular season records (other than in the Fall, in which case the League Representative will determine seeding). In the event of a tie in season records, ties will be resolved by determining a winner based on (a) head-to-head results, if still tied then (b) runs against over the entire regular season, if still tied then (c) runs for over the entire regular season and if still tied (d) by coin toss.
  • Highest seed will be home team (descending order with the top seed #1, next #2, #3, #4, etc.)
  • For tournament games, no new inning will start after 1:40, with no drop dead time (finish the last inning started). For the championship and if-necessary championship games, there shall be no time limits.
  • The ten-run rule or mercy run rule defined in 4.10(e) is in effect for the tournament.
  • All games shall be completed before 10:00pm, and shall be considered final if it has become a regulation game under Rule 4.10(c); provided that no game shall end in a tie. Tie games shall be continued until a winner is determined in accordance with the Rules.
  • The same “mandatory play rules” exist as in the regular season ground rules.
  • Player pool – In the event a team has less than 9 players, team may request a pool player.  Player will be picked from season pool based on a random draw.  If player from opposing team is picked, another player will be chosen.  If team advances and still needs a player to field 9, pool will be limited to players who teams have been eliminated from tournament. Once pool players have participated, they will not be available until all pool players have been selected.

Revised 10/2/2020